“The Champion” may have gotten its start as a would-be sports anthem, but it’s turned into a resounding battle cry for Carrie Underwood, who performed the song for first time with collaborator Ludacris at the Radio Disney Music Awards.
Initially released in January, “The Champion” served as the theme song for the Super Bowl LII broadcast, as well as NBC’s subsequent coverage of the Winter Olympics. At the time, Underwood was on hiatus as she recovered from facial injuries suffered in a fall. She made a triumphant return to stage at the ACM Awards in April to perform her single “Cry Pretty,” but this is the first time Ludacris joined her for a live performance of “The Champion.” It proved to be quite a production, as the rapper emerged midway through the song from behind a screen, with the pair later joined by a group of singers dressed all in white to help lead a massive sing-along with the audience.
Underwood’s current hit “Cry Pretty” will also serve as the title track for her next LP, due out September 14th. She plays Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on June 29th.